Buenos Aires nightlife
To get a true taste of Argentine life, be prepared to stay up way past your bedtime. Dinner in Buenos Aires rarely begins before 10 pm, even at home, making it common to see entire families, often with very young children, still going strong at two or three in the morning. Most dance clubs and tango milongas don't even open until 2 am, and while city authorities are engaged in a long-term campaign to curb alcohol-related traffic accidents, it's telling that new ordinances prohibit the sale of alcohol only after 5 am and impose mandatory closing at the less-than-controversial hour of 7 am.
Surprisingly, though, porteños are not heavy drinkers. True, they consume a prodigious average of 55 bottles of wine a year—roughly four times the typical consumption in North America—but most is quaffed with food. In general, locals prefer not to spoil the memory of a night out by obliterating it entirely, opting to nurse a single glass of wine or to chat over coffee in one of the city's elegant cafés or salons. But those few drinks easily fuel long nights in Buenos Aires's buzzing bars, where louche night owls preen and flirt, people-watch from sidewalk tables, or lounge with cocktails in lush gardens.
Clubbing, carried out almost exclusively by the under-30s, is a weekend affair, and many clubs open only on Friday and Saturday nights. Those situated near the Río de la Plata come into their own in summer, when open-air terraces afford grandstand views of the port and river—look carefully and you can often spot the lights of Uruguay glinting on the far shore. Be sure to check local listings before heading out for the night, as private parties and live music nights can play havoc with club schedules.